Reality television has made an industry out of putting people in challenging or high-stress situations, sitting back, and letting the “unscripted” drama play out. Shows like “The Apprentice” and “Survivor” drew weekly audiences of millions with heavy doses of intrigue, skullduggery, and backstabbing among contestants, who often seem to have been cast purely for their childish, petty, argumentative tendencies.
Impossible people might be fun to watch on television (where other people have to deal with them), but they’re far less amusing in person—especially if you’re serving on your building’s board with them. While most board members are hard-working, cooperative people, occasionally you’ll have a board member who makes the whole process extremely difficult. What then? After all, board members are volunteers—people who give up some of their free time to devote to the upkeep and responsibilities of the building. They each come with a personality and opinions. How can you deal with someone whose primary goal in life seems to be making you and your boards’ life miserable?
Portraits of Problems
“Serving ona board of directorsis a responsibilityand privilegethat must be undertaken and performed with the highest level of personal integrity and corporate accountability,” says Edward Andron, vice president and director of management at Leebar Management Corp. in Manhattan. “Each member of the board and each corporate officer must act with the best interests of the corporation as a goal.”
Each board member must also follow the building’s rules —the bylaws, the proprietary lease and the house rules. If there is an issue that arises that isn’t covered in these documents, it doesn’t mean that the board member can do what he or she chooses.
Take the board member that overuses their power, for example. Laura Ward, a former condo owner in Marietta, Georgia, says her association once had a board member that nit-picked everything and allowed absolutely no room for leeway.